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The name game

My head is spinning! I’ve just crammed two weeks worth of Bible chapters into four days. I decided to back up all the way to 2 Samuel chapter 16, so with the Psalms, that’s 58 chapters! But, I'm all caught up now, and looking forward to that day of rest tomorrow.

Aside from riding the Bible bullet train at break neck speed, there's another reason why my head is spinning. I had difficulty keeping track of all the names of the kings thus far. Imagine if there were several American presidents named John James, James John, John Jameson, and James Johnson. You might need a chart with images to help you distinguish one from another. Well, that’s how I felt reading about Jehoram, Jorem, Jehoahaz, and Jehoshaphat. Not to mention Amaziah, Azariah, and Ahazia whose names appeared more than once in the list of kings. But that’s not all! Some of these names belonged to kings of Israel, as well as kings of Judah. The only way to know the difference is when the text tells you who their fathers were. Thankfully, this is not my first rodeo with Kings.

On my last go-round, I made a chronological list of names to refer to throughout my study. I decided to do that because, by the time I got to Chronicles, I noticed that some of the kings in Kings were called something different in Chronicles. Imagine that!

Even with my little makeshift list, I still felt like I needed Dramamine to keep from getting dizzy. This list looks very primitive, and needs to be updated. But, at least I had some type of map to guide me through the maze of names this time. For anyone who’s reading for comprehension and retention, I highly recommend making a similar list. In the meantime, feel free to peruse my raw notes below, which cover... Day 103-104 - 2 Kings chapters 8-14

(As usual, the links will lead you to the Bible verses listed.)

8:18 - Oh geez! Up til now Judah was doing just fine. They weren't suffering like Israel was because their king didn't lead the people away from God. 8:23 - Oh gosh! The footnote in my bible says Joram is "spelled Jehoram in verse 16ff." Does this mean that it's been talking this whole time about the same king Jehoram of Israel who was last mentioned by name in chapter 3? 8:25 - Not only do we have two Jehoram/Jorams, one in Israel and the other in Judah, but now we have two Ahaziahs. And the lineages seem to be intermingled too. This calls for a bit of research and timeline comparisons, which could be difficult because I read somewhere that Israel counted the years differently than Judah did at some point in time. I'm not sure when or if that really was the case. 9:2-3 - Jumpin' Jehoshaphat! These names! Jehoram, Joram, Jehu, and Jehoshaphat. I'm having the hardest time remembering which ones ruled Israel and which ruled Judah. Then you have Asa and Ahab and Ahaziah and Hazael. We also have Elijah and Elisha. 9:5 - When Jehu stood up to go into the inner room, he didn't know why. When he left his associates who must have been sitting down, he didn't know why. He didn't even ask why. He just went. He obediently followed the son of the prophet into the inner room, while his associates remained where they were. When you're destined for greatness, God raises you up from among your associates. He calls you out from the crowd and urges you to separate set yourself apart. It's a narrow pathway to fulfilling God's will in your life, and there's no room for an entourage, especially when your associates keep sitting in the same place, comfortably glued to the group. 9:37 - Whew!!! That was brutal! 10:28 - So Jehu's purpose was to be clean-up hitter huh? The bloodbath was necessary to cleanse Israel of its sins apparently. No wonder Elisha told the son of the prophet to flee after anointing Jehu king of Israel. All the people sitting in that room, once finding out about the pronouncement, would've understood that Jehu becoming king meant heads would roll, literally. Since they were all servants to the present king and captains of his army, maybe they would've been obliged to kill the messenger due to treason. 10:29-31 - So Jehu did what the Lord commanded except he didn't give the Lord ALL of his heart. He continued in the practices of Jeroboam with the pagan idols and temples at Dan and Bethel? But why? Isn't this typical of human nature? We have the hardest time giving up everything for God, even when we believe in Him and follow His Word. There's always something we talk ourselves into holding onto, saying things like, "Well at least I don't smoke or drink," or "At least I'm faithful to my wife," or "At least I go to church every Sunday," or "At least I give cheerfully to the homeless. So I use profanity every now and then. Everybody does it so it must be okay." No matter how dedicated we are to following God, we always find ourselves holding onto something that offends him. 11:1-2 - She’s Ahab’s daughter. But is Jezebel her mother? Okay wait...let me see if I can get this straight. King Joram of Judah had a son named Ahaziah and he ruled Judah before he was killed by Jehu. Upon his death, his mother Athalia killed all but one of Joram's male descendants who would have a claim to the throne. She did this so she could rule over Judah herself. So there was a female king of Judah for a time! 13:3 - Hazael has a son named Ben-Hadad? Didn’t he kill the previous king whose name was also Ben-Hadad? 13:11 - The sins of just one man, Jeroboam, has trickled down throughout the generations to the point where this king probably doesn't see anything wrong in his actions. His daddy did it. His daddy's daddy did it. His daddy's daddy's daddy did it. And so on. It just goes to show that a sin is a sin yesterday, today, and forever. Although what's acceptable changes over time, the sin and its effects never do.


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